Review Summary: Untitled hammers yet another nail into Korn's coffin. Bland, trite, uninspired and boring.
Let's just be honest here: the notion of Korn
being relevant in 2007 is laughable at best and ridiculous at most realistic. To say that it's been a bumpy ride for Korn over the last few years is to make the understatement of the decade. Given their history (in this decade especially), it's almost admirable that they haven't split up or at least faded into obscurity. For those who haven't quite yet caught up, here's a brief rundown of some of the more notable points of their career:
- Korn releases their self-titled debut which becomes one of the pillars of the nu-metal genre
- Life is Peachy
is released to immediate success, hitting number three on the pop charts
- A high school student is suspended for wearing a Korn shirt to school while the band are recording their third album, Follow the Leader
(which becomes one of their most successful records to date). The principal of said high school declares their music to be "indecent, vulgar and obscene"
- Korn releases Issues
, which does away with a good amount of their hip-hop influence, proving them to be ahead of most their peers
is released and Take a Look in the Mirror
is released the following year
- Guitarist Brian "Head" Welch leaves the band following a rather radical conversion to Christianity. Korn team up with production team The Matrix
and See You On the Other Side
is released at the end of the year.
- Drummer Dave Silveria goes on "hiatus" and sits out on the recording of Untitled
. Korn appear on the MTV Unplugged
program. Singer Jonathan Davis announces that he is writing an opera and the band record and release Untitled
as a three-piece.
Apologies for the history lesson, but it's necessary to understand the mid-life woes that Korn seem to be horribly afflicted with, certainly in the past few years (2007 especially) and undoubtedly on Untitled
. Korn teamed up with The Matrix
for See You On the Other Side
(presumably to jumpstart the band's sound after the departure of Head) and are joined here by them again. Unfortunately, the added electronic textures and the highly processed feel of the record cause it to sound unoriginal and feel uninspired. For most Korn fans, their appeal always lay within their aesthetic rather than their songwriting or the performance of any individual members. Their chugging downtuned riffs, coupled with their hip-hop influences and the versatility of singer Jonathan Davis created a sound that was original, unlike most of their followers and imitators. Unfortunately, Korn's days of originality are long behind them, with Untitled
hammering yet another nail into their ever-increasingly airtight coffin.
begins with an 'evil carnival' ambient intro; a sound that has been done so many times before that it's extremely difficult to take seriously in this context. Much of Untitled
follows the same pattern; flat, unoriginal, uninspired and difficult to take seriously. While Korn have always thrived on teen angst, it becomes repetitive by album 8 and one has to wonder when they're going to, you know, cheer up a bit. The fact that songs like "Bitch, We Got a Problem" are being written by guys in their late 30s makes them seem all the more ridiculous.
Perhaps moreso than any other Korn release, the songs of Untitled
blend together to the point that it's very difficult to distinguish individual tracks even when Korn throw some variety into the mix like with the subdued "Kiss" or the ambient verses of "Hushabye". Lyrically however, the album goes in the other direction, with individual lines standing out over any bigger picture Davis tries to paint. More often that not, this is just because Davis' lyrics are sub par at best and highly angsty. "God is gonna take me out", he yells over the top of overproduced industrial metal of "Starting Over", while "Hold On" features possibly the most trite lyrics of the record; "Hold on/Be strong/So right/So wrong", only tied with "You're always wrong/With your dumbass song/Yeah that's all that you will ever be" from "Ever Be". The aforementioned "Bitch We Got a Problem" sports far too much ridiculousness to be taken as anything but a joke.
, Korn feel tired, bland and dated. The electronic textures, while perhaps intended to feel modern, make the album feel more like outtakes from The Downward Spiral
, without its power or sincerity. Even its title (or lack thereof) makes it seem like the band were merely going through the motions rather than creating honest music. Unless you're a diehard fan, don't bother with Untitled
; it's not like Korn did.
At least they're trying reinvent themselves to some degree
Bitch We Got A Problem
Love and Luxury
Final Rating: 2/5